IM merges with SkypeDo you have a Skype account? It’s fairly likely that you do. Do you have a Microsoft Instant Messenger account? Perhaps not as likely, but possible.

If you have both you may be keen to learn that Microsoft is merging the two in March of this year. Microsoft’s announcement at the end of last year is certainly good news for Instant Messenger (IM) users, but what does it mean?

With a reported 280 million Skype users using 120 billion minutes of Skype calls per quarter (up 58% year-on-year) and more than 100 million Microsoft IM users, it’s no surprise the merge will take place to allow for a first class instant messenger and video conferencing service.

So from 15th March 2013 all IM users will migrate over to Skype (regardless of whether you’ve set up an account specifically to Skype or not), except for users in mainland China where IM will still be available.

For IM users you will now have all the added features that Skype offers:

  • Instant messenger
  • Free video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Group video calls

However for Skype users as far as I can see unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any real added benefits at the moment.

So here’s what will happen when you log into your Skype account:

As a Microsoft IM user, update to Skype and sign in with your Messenger ID:

Skype with Microsoft login

If you are also a Skype user, you’ll be asked to merge your Skype and IM accounts within your main Microsoft account:

Skype merge with IM

Then once the merge has taken place all your IM friends will be synced in with your Skype contact list.

And that’s it. Then simply take advantage of everything that Skype offers – it really is a fantastic service that I couldn’t live without. For more information on how Skype can help your business, see one of our previous blog articles on Skype for Business here.